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Race 3 – Day 8

Mission Performance - Ben Pate

18 OCT 2013 - Race 3

Hello all!

So the mood on board is now one of an up-beat crew ready to fight for the lead again. After significant damage to our heavyweight spinnaker we thought all was lost in this race. Luckily, the weather eased and the course the skipper had set meant we were in medium weight territory anyway. 

The sail repair team have worked for 72 hours straight, with some of the members, including our illustrious leader, staying up for 52 hours to fix the kite.

In this period we have also made a brave move and headed to the south of the fleet, in the expectancy of finding some stronger winds to give us an extra margin into Cape Town. The strategy was a bold one as it meant moving away from our first place, head south whilst the rest of the fleet headed east and then gybe back to an easterly course and hope we have the speed to overtake them again.

The strategy so far is paying off, but this is one to test the skippers skills in navigation as it is an all or nothing manoeuvre that could have cost us a podium. We really need to do well in this race as we are standing fourth in the championship and need to head up to the table to the podium spots. We know we are fast, but the 7th place to Rio is really playing on our minds.

At 40 19.26 South we are now in the "Roaring Forties", the dreaded Southern Ocean region where waves as big as houses give you surfs for miles and the cold conditions test the hardest of sailors. We, however, are experiencing a more relaxing ride, maybe the purring forties. The waves are no bigger than we have seen in the English Channel, the sun is out and the boat seems very stable. The wind however is due to pick up tonight so we will see what happens then!

We are all back in the routine of racing the boat and as I sit here, the sounds of the trimmers echo through the hull, the water rushes past the hull and the little boat on the nav screen makes it's wa east to the finish. I'm trying to put off Engineering duties which will involve crawling around the bilges pumping water for the next two hours, which as you can imagine is fun fun fun.

The bread is also improving. The first few days, lumps of brown were served up as "bread", but we should have held open the doors with them. 

More recently, the rising is greater, the bread is getting lighter and all getting better. We have run out of peanut butter, which has become a bit of a favourite so now the Nutella is getting a hammering. Food is fuel, but when you find something tasty, you crave it like you crave a nice clean bed and a shower at the end of the leg.

Cape Town should be 7-8 days away, so the crew are now changing pants to mark the half way mark and already starting to talk about the first meal in port, with massive steaks being a very common theme.

From me, my head wounds are all recovered from my fight with Rocky "The Spinnaker Sheet" Balboa. The team are working well and I miss everyone back at home. To my Northern friends "Hi Sue!!", to my Southern friends "In your head all day, in your head all day", to my work colleagues I hope you all have a Baby Guinness for me and to my family, I miss you all and hope baby George is starting to walk and talk and you are all happy and healthy.

So there we have it, game on. Let's get racing to the Cape and we are still ahead of the Swiss boat which of course, is the main priority, so happy days!

Ben Pate